MDR, EDR, SOC, XDR … The cybersecurity industry certainly is not lacking when it comes to acronyms. This endless stream of alphabet soup causes a lot of confusion for industry newcomers and veterans alike.

One of the more popular questions we get is, What’s the difference between managed detection and response (MDR) and a security operations center (SOC)? Years ago, there were providers whose focus was on MDR vs SOC. It’s past time to put that idea to rest and focus on MDR with a fully integrated SOC.

A SOC and MDR are not competitive solutions. Instead, a SOC is a foundational component of an MDR solution. A SOC is comprised of highly skilled and experienced cybersecurity experts who monitor IT environments 24/7 to deliver an effective managed detection and response solution.

Continue reading to learn more about MDR and SOCs, so you can better understand what each is and how they work together.

What is MDR?

MDR is a 24/7 solution that identifies security threats across an organization’s environment by combining technology, security operations, and human expertise to deliver actionable guidance to remediate and eliminate security threats. It works by integrating a security platform with analytics and expert-led services to provide threat detection and response recommendations across cloud, hybrid, on-premises environments, and user accounts and endpoints. With MDR, cyber threats and exposures are identified and responded to quickly through in-depth investigations to enable rapid elimination and/or containment.

Here’s a simple run-through of the process:

  • Raw data is collected.
  • Observations and alerts are created.
  • Threats are analyzed.
  • True positives are identified and escalated as action-oriented incidents coupled with key recommendations.
  • Escalated incidents trigger automated containment actions and further remediation recommendations are undertaken.
  • Threat is eliminated.

Inside Alert Logic’s SOC: Watch the on-demand webinar series

What is a SOC?

A SOC is a required component of a complete MDR solution. Simply stated, the SOC is the dedicated security team that monitors for and assesses threats and exposures, constantly analyzing data, and hunting to identify and confirm these threats. An MDR SOC provides the platform, personnel, expertise, and experience organizations need to detect, investigate, respond to, and mitigate threats before they cause damage. These experts also provide the guidance and recommendations that eliminate the threat and harden your security posture.

MDR with a SOC … Better together

Every business can benefit from an MDR solution to manage their security outcomes. But if you have an MDR service without a tried-and-true SOC, you simply won’t achieve a high level of security.

An effective MDR solution will have a SOC enabled with powerful threat intelligence and tooling to:

  • Detect and defend against ransomware attacks
  • Actively monitor cloud activity, applications, and behavior
  • Provide visibility into exposures, vulnerabilities, and risky configurations
  • Support compliance with cybersecurity governance and mandates

MDR solutions consistently provides timely, security-relevant, posture-hardening guidance and recommendations, all with an end objective of making you more secure in a measurable way.

MDR with a SOC for companies with an internal SOC?

MDR provides turnkey 24/7 SOC capabilities. Historically, organizations with small security teams or IT teams without dedicated security specialists favored MDR.

In recent years, however, organizations with established internal SOCs also are taking advantage of MDR by augmenting their existing security operations with a trusted partner, enabling a rapid acceleration in capabilities through collaboration, specialization, and allocation of shared responsibilities. MDR provides a steadfast solution that can free up internal resources to focus on more targeted initiatives.

Organizations with their own SOC, a small security team, or no security specialists, can benefit from the augmentation of security operations that MDR provides.

It can be difficult for many organizations to develop and maintain extensive and expensive security resource in-house. With a comprehensive MDR solution like Fortra’s Alert Logic MDR, you gain the peace of mind that comes from a security solution with a global 24/7 SOC delivering actionable insights to your organization. And you’ll experience the benefits achieved with MDR with a SOC instead of SOC vs MDR.


Fortra's Alert Logic
About the Author
Fortra's Alert Logic

Related Post

Ready to protect your company with Alert Logic MDR?